Bishop Weigand of Sacramento asks Pope Benedict for early retirement

Bishop Weigand of Sacramento asks Pope Benedict for early retirement

Archbishop William Weigand
Archbishop William Weigand


Bishop of Sacramento William K. Weigand has asked Pope Benedict XVI permission to retire, citing a lack of physical energy.

“I'm just kind of worn out," Bishop Weigand told the Sacramento Bee. "I haven't run out of ideas. I just don't have the energy."

The 71-year-old bishop is seeking retirement four years before the mandatory retirement age of 75. According to the Diocese of Sacramento’s website, Bishop Weigand has been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis and underwent a living donor liver transplant in April 2005.

He was Bishop of Salt Lake City for 13 years before becoming shepherd of Sacramento in January 1994.

In 2004 he told then-Gov. Gray Davis to “have the integrity” to stop receiving Communion because of the governor’s policies favoring abortion.

In 2005, Bishop Weigand ordered the firing of a drama teacher at the all-girls Catholic prep school Loretto High School after a parent discovered the teacher was serving as an escort at an abortion clinic.

“If we are to form faithful Catholic young people and provide suitable role models for such formation,” the bishop said in an October 26, 2005 letter, “teachers in our Catholic schools must themselves be witnesses to the Truth proclaimed in the Gospel, conducting themselves by word and deed in accordance with the Truths of our Faith. Their witness does not end when the school bell rings at the end of the day or the school year concludes at the beginning of summer.”

According to the California Catholic Daily, the Diocese of Sacramento agreed to settle 33 claims of clerical sexual abuse at a financial cost of $35 million in June 2005. Presently, Bishop Weigand said the diocese is beginning to recover from the expense, but the “hurt and pain” still remain.

The bishop is scheduled to turn over responsibility for the diocese to current coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto at a November 30 Mass in Sacramento’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. During the rite, Bishop Weigand will retire his coat of arms, which bears the motto “Feed my Lambs.”

The sitting bishop’s coat of arms will be replaced by that of Bishop Soto, which bears the motto “Joy and Hope.”

Bishop Soto, the former auxiliary bishop of Orange County, was named coadjutor bishop for Sacramento in October 2007. When he takes over Bishop Weigand’s office, he will become the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the Western United States.

Bishop Weigand has said he plans to spend his first six months of retirement camping in a new trailer, writing and working on his family genealogy.